Monday, October 27, 2014

Trick and Treating Blog Hop!

Fall is upon us and that means it's time for some Teaching Trick & Treating!

That's right - I have teamed up with my Freebielicious friends again to share some teaching tricks and special free treats for you!
My students LOVE using their interactive notebook! When the children are working on the left side, the creative side, some children take a little longer to finish. So, I always let the early finishers get up and walk around to see everyone's work. This serves many purposes:

This gallery walk really works like a charm! I hear tons of compliments and some great constructive criticism too. The other day, a student looked at my book and gave me advice on how to make it even better. I took his advice and he was right! I love learning from my students! 

My treat is a FREE booklet from my Sight Word / CVC Word Sentence Booklets. I just updated this pack, so if you already own it, download it again! 

Just click here and download the preview. The FREEBIE is hidden inside! Enjoy!

Hop along to the next Freebielicious friend to see what their Trick & Treat is!

Kreative in Kinder

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bright Idea: Using Google Docs to Schedule Conferences

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!
This month, I wrote a step-by-step tutorial on how to use Google Docs to easily and painlessly schedule your parent/teacher conferences. 

No more emails back and forth.

 No more reminder notes sent home. 

No more hassle.

I promise! 

Just follow the steps outlined below and you will no longer fear scheduling conferences. 

You do need to create a google drive account, which most people already have anyway if you use gmail or store your files in google drive.

To begin, go to your google drive page.

It may seem like a lot of steps, but it takes just a few minutes from start to finish. Remind the parents that they CANNOT edit the document from their mobile device. I believe there is an app they can download, but I just told my parents to use their computer to edit the schedule.

I hope you enjoyed my Bright Idea!
You can find many, many more ideas by clicking on the link up below! Have fun!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Interactive Notebooks: It's not just cutting and gluing!

I honestly do not know what I would do without interactive notebooks. These notebooks are so much more than just cutting and gluing.

If you are using interactive notebooks, you have probably figured out by now that your students are always 100% engaged during your lessons. They take great pride in their notebooks and they are a valuable learning tool.

If you haven't read this blog post yet, please click on the link. It is filled with many helpful hints to ensure success.

The RIGHT side of the notebook is meant for guided learning. This is where we work together, with our students, to learn new concepts. For young students, who are not quite ready for typical note-taking, this is where they will cut and glue fun shapes that contain valuable information. They'll fold, lift flaps, and stick stuff in pockets. 

Your students will quickly learn that they need to pay close attention to the directions or they will risk cutting off a valuable piece of information. They will not be happy if this happens! 

Once you and your students have completed the activity on the RIGHT side of the notebook, it is time for them to interact with this new information on the LEFT SIDE. This is where they will show their understanding of the concepts just introduced and give them an opportunity to apply it. Older students should come up with their own way to interact with the new information. Younger students need a bit more guidance.

Here are some examples of how my students process the new information on the LEFT side of their notebooks...
Students defined the characteristics of a fable. 
They had to find this information in the text.

Students chose their favorite character from the story and wrote why they liked him/her. 

This is the same as the activity above. However, it was completed later in the school year, so the children were asked to cite specific evidence from the story. (The word men is actually the word mean! LOL!)
Students used color and number adjectives to describe a noun. 
They were told to come up with their own adjectives and not to just copy them from the right side. 

Students wrote and illustrated their own verb. 

Student's came up with their own possessive noun phrases.

Students used one of the words from the right side in a sentence. We learned about complete sentences the same week, so they were also applying that new knowledge in this activity.

I dictated the words on the left for the children to write. They used the words on the right to help spell them correctly. For example, in the second one, I said "Rack. Change the vowel sound in a word on the right to make rack."

So, as you can see, there are many, many different ways to help your students process their new knowledge. Without this crucial step, interactive notebooks are just cutting and gluing. This is definitely fun to do, but certainly NOT what makes an interactive notebook interactive. 

Just remember...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Custom T-Shirt Mega GIVEAWAY from Freebielicious

Every once in a while,  the girls at Freebielicious discover a really awesome product for classroom teachers that is so amazing, we just have to share it with you! Today is one of those days! Get ready because we are hosting a super cute giveaway for custom classroom t-shirts from We will be giving away a class set* of custom t-shirts to THREE lucky Freebielicious fans! Isn't that amazing? 

These are NOT your average t-shirt designs. The people at ClassroomFaces are so creative, they found a way to print a collection of drawings from every child in the class on the set of t-shirts, to create a truly custom design! Nobody else in the world will ever have a t-shirt exactly like the one your class designs. The website may be called "Classroom Faces" but there are SO many more options for children to draw than just their face. Sample designs on the website show creative ideas using student handprints or drawings of the school mascot.

Since the Freebielicious girls are such good friends, we designed our very own set of Classroom Faces t-shirts. We enlisted the help of our talented friend (and fellow Freebie gal) Nikki from Melonheadz to create custom drawings of each of our faces. The finished t-shirts were absolutely ADORABLE! I love my new custom Freebielicious t-shirt from Classroom

About Classroom Faces

Creating a class set of t-shirts featuring your students' drawings is easy. Each child just needs to create a simple drawing. To create t-shirts with one-color ink on a solid colored t-shirt (like ours) each child needs to draw their picture using a fine point black marker. The ClassroomFaces website has downloadable templates that you can use to guide your students. Full-color illustrations on a plain white t-shirt are also possible. 

Extra Savings for Freebielicious Fans

Freebielicious fans who order a class set of t-shirts can save $1 on each t-shirt and receive 1 free teacher t-shirt with their order using promo code FREEBIE14. Orders must include 15 or more paid shirts to qualify and must be postmarked by December 31, 2014

Enter to WIN a Class Set of Custom Classroom Faces T-Shirts

Now that you have seen how ADORABLE these t-shirts are, it's your chance to try and win a set for your classroom. The wonderful people at ClassroomFaces are graciously giving away a class set* of custom t-shirts to 3 lucky Freebielicious fans! Each set is valued at over $250. Stop by the Freebielicious blog for your chance to WIN! 

*Up to 24 t-shirts will be included in each prize pack. Winner can choose to order a class set of traditional single-color t-shirts or t-shirts will full-color illustrations. Additional t-shirts can be purchased for $11 or $13 (depending on t-shirt size and style). Shipping is free for winners who live in the US. If a winner requires shipping outside of the US, the winner is responsible for shipping costs. (Shipping to Canada costs between $5-$20 depending on weight and location). 

Good luck everyone!
Here's a peek at some of my Freebielicious friends in their shirt!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pumpkin Writing Bulletin Board

For the second year in a row, my students LOVED making these silly pumpkins. I got the idea last year from Doodle Bugs Teaching.

This year, I decided to add a writing component. First grade was working on adjectives for two weeks, and it was very easy to describe these silly pumpkins! 

The lesson was very specific. The first sentence introduced the pumpkin by giving him/her a name. The second sentence described the color and size or shape of the pumpkin. The third sentence was all about the number of teeth the pumpkin has. The fourth sentence described the pumpkin using one word only. And the last sentence told how the pumpkin made you feel.

We are working very hard on writing complete sentences, so we only wrote one sentence at a time, making sure to start with a capital letter and end with punctuation. Each sentence had to make sense too, and only include one thought. This is really tough on young writers! 

These kinds of directed writing lessons really help the children write proper sentences and not just one, long, run on! In between writing each sentence, we brainstormed words we can use in our sentences.

This is the writing template we used. 
Feel free to grab it for yourself by clicking the image below.

I do these kinds of directed writing lessons often because they really help the children learn how to write an organized paragraph. I find that the children begin to write this way on their own after a few modeled lessons.

If you are looking for ways to do these types of modeled writing lessons in your classroom, you should check out my Writing through the Fall pack. 

After a few of these, your students will be able to write an organized paragraph. Even on their own!

Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard